Google is shutting down its Google Labs experimental project incubator as part of an effort at "simplifying and streamlining" the company's product lines, the search giant revealed on its official blog Wednesday.
Referencing Google CEO Larry Page's recent memo to employees explaining the company's decision to retire its Google Health and PowerMeter services, Bill Coughran, a Google senior vice president for research and systems infrastructure, wrote that shuttering Google Labs was also part of the company's new agenda of "prioritizing our product efforts."
"While we've learned a huge amount by launching very early prototypes in Labs, we believe that greater focus is crucial if we're to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead," Coughran wrote in a blog post titled "More wood behind fewer arrows."
"In many cases," he wrote, "this will mean ending Labs experiments—in others we'll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas. And many of the Labs products that are Android apps today will continue to be available on Android Market."
The folks over at Google Labs have been hard at work, trying to tighten the grip of your virtual leash, and today introduced a new way to feed the desire for instant gratification: SMS text messaging for chat. How often have you tried to chat with somebody, but they don’t respond because they “just walked away from their computer?” Well, Gmail chat will now send those messages along to your intended recipient’s cell phone so it’ll be that much harder to ignore you; and if you’re in the middle of a conversation you want to continue, but they need to leave their computer, you can now do that seamlessly.
Just go to the Labs area in Preferences to turn it on - you can type any US phone number into the search box in the chat window on the left, then select “Send SMS.” You can also select the contact you want to SMS first and then add their phone number. You can send messages to US numbers from anywhere in the world. If you’re on the receiving end, when you get a text message from Gmail on your phone, messages from each contact will come from a unique number with a 406 area code (406 spells G0O…), reply like you would to any other text message and the reply will be routed through Gmail’s servers straight to your friend’s Gmail chat window.
If your recipient REALLY doesn’t want to talk to you, it’s easy enough to reply to the message with the word BLOCK and you’re just out of luck, no more SMS delivery to that contact! If you’re someone who doesn’t have a text messaging plan or are limited in the number of messages you can receive for free, you can simply reply with the word STOP and you won’t receive texts from anybody using Gmail. Another awesome innovation that makes it that much harder to hide…
Read More | Gmail Blog
First there was drunk dialing – with a virtual Rolodex of both personal and work-related contact information just a keystroke away, it was only a matter of time before Google Labs came up with an idea to combat the latest device of the cocktail-inspired composer: drunk e-mailing. Mail Goggles, a new Gmail feature offered only on weekends between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. was created with the intoxicated in mind. The program requires users who’ve enabled the function to perform five simple math problems within 60 seconds of clicking the send button, just to verify that you’re in the right state of mind – a designated driver on the so-called information superhighway.
Read More | The New York Times